As increasing numbers of women hold private wealth, it seems the face of philanthropy is changing. A notable change comes from female philanthropists striving to create strategic initiatives around collaborative giving. As investment by women increases, philanthropy is moving away from being an ego-system and towards becoming an ecosystem.
At last year’s Forbes Philanthropy Forum, there were predictably higher male attendees but also an interesting development in terms of giving. There were similar rates of giving between male and female philanthropists. This seems to follow findings by recent studies which show that women are more likely to be pro-social and donate more of their wealth. Forbes statistics report that female philanthropists donate 3.5% of their money, compared to 1.8% given by their male counterparts.
Female philanthropists working with diverse collectives include With and For Girls Collective director Swatee Deepak. Made up of nine funders, the group is committed to providing flexible funding for female focussed organisations. Deepak believes that collaborative giving can have more impact as it brings together a range of givers with different strengths, which allows them to take bolder risks.
Deepak admits that the collaborative model is not necessarily a consensus one; her group embraces healthy discussion, even disagreement. Funders bring their own strengths, expertise and viewpoints which promotes progress in the sector through learning. Managing Director of investment company Oak Management AS Joey Horn also recognises the importance of philanthropic investment. She lends her support to Williams College as a former trustee and was a co-chair and co-founder of the Women’s Leadership Giving Committee.
Freada Kapor Klein, of the Kapor Centre, is a founding member of The Collaborative Fund for Women’s Safety and Dignity. The Fund’s core objectives are to share resources and learn from each other to aid strategic collaboration. Initially set up to exclusively focus on sexual harassment against women, Kapor Klein’s strategy is to challenge all abuse of power. The organisation has expanded beyond the issue of sexual harassment and now includes refugee work, poverty alleviation and all forms of exploitation.
This style of female philanthropy was first started by giving circles. The Women’s Collective Giving Network remains focussed on giving by women and for women. It now has 47 Giving Circles with more than 10,000 philanthropists determined to continue the female philanthropy evolution.